The persistence of the pandemic is not a sufficient rationale for allowing everyone in Tennessee to vote by mail this fall, the state's top court has ruled, putting the state back on the otherwise shrinking roster of places with excuse requirements for getting an absentee ballot.
Wednesday's 4-1 decision by the state Supreme Court overturned a lower court's declaration two months ago that all eligible voters be permitted to use the mail this year in order to avoid Covid-19 exposure. It stands as the first time a state's top court has used an appeal to make absentee voting in November more restrictive.
As a result, there are now eight states where a reason beyond fear of the coronavirus will be needed to vote for president. Other than New York and Indiana, the rest are spread across the South; of those, all but emerging battleground Texas are reliably Republican red: Kentucky, South Carolina, Mississippi and Louisiana now joined again by Tennessee.
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